WINCHESTER — A Frederick County man convicted of gun and methamphetamine charges faces a lengthy sentence.
A Frederick Circuit Court jury on Friday recommended a 20-year sentence for Todd Lynn Lewis, 43. He was convicted of possession of more than 10 grams of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possessing a firearm while possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The latter charge carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence. Lewis faced between five and 40 years if convicted, according to jury instructions.
The conviction stemmed from a report of an attempted motorcycle theft at 3341 Millwood Pike (U.S. 50) on Oct. 19, 2019. Deputy Cody W. Vorous wrote in a criminal complaint that he arrested five men in two pickup trucks at the scene and Lewis was driving one of the pickups.
In the truck, a Navy Federal Credit Union duffel bag containing 30 baggies of meth, which weighed about 17 grams, was found as well as scales and three semi-automatic pistols. Also inside the bag was a receipt with Lewis’ name on it and his Navy Federal employee badge.
In an interview Tuesday, Ryan Perry, an assistant county commonwealth’s attorney, said Lewis and the other men are believed to be members of the Pagans motorcycle gang. Police thought they were stealing a motorcycle from another Pagans member who was jailed at the time. Besides the drug and gun charges, Lewis was charged with motor vehicle theft, but the charge was dismissed after it was learned that he had permission to take the motorcycle.
Formed in Prince County Maryland in 1959, the Pagans have a long and bloody history that includes multiple battles with the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang, their primary rival. In February, their national President Keith “Conan” Richter was charged with gun possession in New Jersey. He previously served 16 years for attempted murder and racketeering, according to the newjersey.com website.
Joshua Price, a Virginia State Police special agent and head of the Northwestern Virginia Drug and Gang Task Force, wouldn’t comment Tuesday on Lewis or the Pagans. However, a 2014 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives report said Virginia has seen a major expansion of motorcycle gangs into territory once controlled by the Pagans or Warlocks.
The report said the Pagans have a Northern Virginia chapter with members spread out through the Winchester/West Virginia border. Perry said Lewis and the other men were wearing Pagans’ colors and that Lewis said they have a clubhouse in Frederick County.
While the Pagans and other motorcycle gangs have a history of drug dealing, defense attorney David A. Downes sought to have his client’s classification as Pagan not mentioned to the jury. Downes wrote in a motion to strike the information that it was a “logical fallacy” that because some motorcycle gangs deal drugs, being a member of the “group” automatically means the member deals drugs.
“The argument would be extremely prejudicial to my client and would be just as appalling as asserting that because certain members of a minority group are statistically more likely to commit certain crimes, the jury should consider the defendant’s membership in that group as evidence of guilt or innocence,” wrote Downes, who didn’t return a call or email Tuesday.
Lewis, of the 200 block of Broad Avenue, is scheduled to be sentenced at 9 a.m. Aug. 12.